The Early Childhood Access and Participation Project: talking with Chin families from Burma about early childhood services

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We wish to acknowledge the Chin advisers involved in the The Early Childhood Access and Participation Project: Talking with Chin Families from Burma about Early Childhood Services (ECAP), who generously contributed their stories of early childhood development services before arriving in Australia and their experiences after arrival. In the company of service providers, they respectfully aired the barriers they had faced in accessing early childhood services and suggested constructive strategies to make services more accessible to other Chin families in Brimbank. We also acknowledge the staff from early childhood services that enthusiastically entered into dialogue with Chin advisers, listened to their suggestions, and not only acknowledged ways in which services could change to better accommodate Chin families but also introduced those changes. Dialogue between service providers and Chin advisers would not have been possible without the skills and good humour of the interpreters, Thomas Mung and Za Tuahngur. Thanks are also extended to Nancy Shwe Kheitu and Par Hlei Sieng, who cared so well for the young children while parents participated in network discussions. The ECAP Project was funded by the Western Metropolitan Region of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Regional staff who contributed were Anne Butterworth, Jackie McWilliam and Deanne Scott. The department and staff are thanked for recognising and taking action on access issues experienced by Chin families and others from refugee backgrounds. Sunshine Harvester Primary School provided a venue and staff time for the project, and our thanks go to then principal Alan Dash, assistant principal Paul Griffin, early years coordinator Cecily Fry and multicultural education aide Thi Tha Zin. Their thoughtful support demonstrated their strong commitment to the school as an inclusive hub for the community, and there is no doubt that this encouraged the engagement of the Chin advisers.

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